Mary Erickson: Vibrant Coastal Paintings

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Oil painter Mary Erickson has been creating beautiful nature scenes full-time since 1993. Her studios in Venice, FL and Marshville, NC pay homage to her lifelong passion, devotion and respect for marine environs and shorebirds.

Preferring to paint en plein air, many of Mary’s days begin on location before sunrise and end after sunset. Then, using studies, sketches and visual memory, Mary also develops studio paintings that further clarify the light, shapes, feelings and atmospheric effects of her time spent in the field.

“I want the viewer to enjoy the peacefulness of a setting, or hear the excitement of crashing waves, smell the mud at low tide, or feel the cold wind through my art. I am searching for the truth in a scene,” Mary says.

You can certainly feel a good-natured sense of urgency in the quick gaits of these Sunny Day Sandpipers below. It’s just another day at the beach as the lively coastal birds wet their whistles on the shoreline, scavenging for lunch.


Always aware of the opalescent waves threatening to sweep them off their feet, the sandpipers retreat briefly, then return just as quickly, their happy chirping lost in the crash of the waves. The combination of Mary’s closely cropped composition and that energetic flurry of activity puts us right inside the painting.

In her next painting, Sea and Land, a trail leads to the ocean that just begs to be sprinted down. Thickets of coastal grass thrive on either side, cloaking the path in cool shadows, while the warm sun beams down past a few thin clouds.


I’d say this scene epitomizes a perfect day spent at the beach, and in my head I’m already planning my next vacation to the coast.

Lastly (and so evocatively painted) Autumn Egret exemplifies the quiet solitude often felt at dusk, when the world slows its spin and darkness blankets land and water alike.


I love how the fading sunset lingers, glowing, around the stark white feathers of the egret. Its sole reflection bounces in the gentle ripple of the water just as nightfall descends.

Mary’s passion for the coast and its avian inhabitants is clear in her paintings, but her goals extends far beyond that—her residence in North Carolina is to be left for future generations as a bird sanctuary and artists’ retreat, and special editions of her prints are used exclusively to raise funds for conservation, preservation and educational organizations throughout the US.

Please don’t hesitate to check out her website for more inspired paintings and information about her mission.


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